How to scan slides

RGF

How you relate to the issue, is the issue.
Jul 13, 2012
2,816
35
I have a Mac Pro with thunderbolt and USB (though I can add adapter cable to attach a firewire device) and a Nikon 4000 scanner.

Any suggestions on how to scan slides (besides send them out)?]

Thanks
 

dcm

Good or bad - it's not the gear.
Apr 18, 2013
752
84
RGF said:
I have a Mac Pro with thunderbolt and USB (though I can add adapter cable to attach a firewire device) and a Nikon 4000 scanner.

Any suggestions on how to scan slides (besides send them out)?]

Thanks
Sounds like you've got the hardware other than the adapter. Are you looking for software or process suggestions? Are you scanning for online use or do you need something with higher quality - basically how do you intend to use the result?

I've scanned slides dating from 1950s to 1990s on an Epson v750 flatbed using VueScan on a Mac mini. The VueScan/v750 combo support infrared (ICE), fading (ROC) and grain (GEM) corrections similar to your setup. I recently finished 500 slides from the 50's. Don't have any specific experience with the 4000. It might have been nice to use for my 35mm scanning, but I was also scanning a lot of 120 and MF film which the 4000 doesn't handle.

Get familiar with your equipment first and work on the process for your target result - it took a while to dial it in for me. I picked some samples (good and bad), scanned and post processed them several times to get started. I varied the scanning settings to observe the effect on post processing to minimize the amount of post processing required. For the Nikon you would want to observe the effect of ICE, GEM, and ROC. You might also want to experiment with the resolution to see what works best - 4000ppi, downsampled to 2000ppi or 1000ppi, versus 2000ppi, downsampled to 1000ppi, versus 1000ppi. Biggest bottleneck is likely the Firewire link so scanning at twice the resolution may take 4 times longer to transfer and much larger files with little improvement in the final result. You may may need to re-calibrate your settings/process for groups of slides from different periods.

I was going for primarily online usage so I scanned at 1600ppi RAW, post processed, and resampled to 800ppi JPG for the final result. This lets me get a good initial image for all of the slides. I still have the 1600 dpi RAW or I can go back later to rescan any stellar images at 3200ppi and resample to 1600ppi for HD images.
 

RGF

How you relate to the issue, is the issue.
Jul 13, 2012
2,816
35
Thanks . I will install vuescan after my new thunderbolt to firewire adapter arrives.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,254
454
Some good comments there from dcm. I bought a Epson 750 myself, more for the ability to scan multiple slides - everything I read suggested that scanning a lot of slides one at a time can be soul-destroying and I decided to send out the few I would want to make a better job of.
I don't think the 400 has autofocus so I don; tknow if dcm has any suggestions how to allow for different mount thicknesses or the odd bowed slide.

I would give serious thought to rigging up a lightox and photographing them. One very detailed review I read back in about 2007 showed very similar results between photographing and a Nikon scanner and since cameras have moved on a lot since then the gap may well be negligible. I am finding the same sort of thing with the Epson and given most of my slides were taken with consumer 1990s lenses it reduces the chance of seeing a difference.
 

pwp

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 25, 2010
2,530
22
Here's my list of saved bookmarks on the subject, including a handy CR thread:

Camera Scans
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/11/11/using-a-dslr-to-scan-negative-film-by-stefan-schmidt/
http://petapixel.com/2014/02/11/neat-diy-projector-rig-lets-digitize-15-slides-per-minute-automatically/
http://www.dpbestflow.org/camera/camera-scanning
http://thedambook.com/downloads/Camera_Scanning_Krogh.pdf
http://petapixel.com/2014/03/30/reflectas-latest-35mm-scanner-digitizes-your-negatives-at-an-insane-10000-dpi/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PetaPixel+%28PetaPixel%29
http://lensvid.com/gear/scanning-slides-using-a-dslr-the-fast-way/
http://petapixel.com/2012/12/24/how-to-scan-your-film-using-a-digital-camera-and-macro-lens/
http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=21877.0
http://petapixel.com/2012/12/24/how-to-scan-your-film-using-a-digital-camera-and-macro-lens/
http://www.scantips.com/es-1.html
https://luminous-landscape.com/articleImages/CameraScanning.pdf
https://luminous-landscape.com/scannerless-digital-capture-and-processing-of-negative-film-photographs/
http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107834.0

I did some stunning camera scans from an important transparency with the 5DIII, more than doubling the quality by shooting ultra close ups of less than half the tranny at a time and stitched three frames in Lr. Worked like a charm.

-pw
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,595
165
dcm said:
I've scanned slides dating from 1950s to 1990s on an Epson v750 flatbed using VueScan
What are your impression of the V750 to scan slides?
 

kaihp

I'm not new here
Mar 19, 2012
854
6
I went to the forum thread that pwp linked to and saw the Canon 9000F flatbed scanner mentioned. I have one of those, and want to warn against it: just don't waste your time (and money) on it for scanning slides/negatives.

The fundamental problem with the 9000 (and likely others too; do your own research) is that the scanner is focused on the glass, but the negative/slide holder has a finite thickness which means that the negatives/slides are 0.5mm displaced from the scanners focus plane. The resulting IQ is pathetic and even when scanning at the highest resolution (3600dpi or so), the IQ is significantly worse than in the scans I had made (~1200dpi) when I developed the film originally in 2001.

Other flatbed scanners may or may not have this problem, but if I ever start scanning the old family photos, I'll be using my 5D3 and a macro lens for the capture process.
 

JonAustin

Telecom / IT consultant and semi-pro photographer
Dec 10, 2012
641
0
Horseshoe Bay, TX
@ kaihp:

Hmm, interesting to read about your (unfortunately disappointing) results with the CanoScan 9000F.

I have one of its predecessors, the 8800F, and I've run a couple of film scanning jobs through it (one of slides for personal use, the other of negatives for a client), with what I thought were excellent results. (And the client was thrilled, although she had no idea what to expect.) Then again, all the slides and negs were from the 50's and 60's, all shot with equipment of unknown quality, and some were in poor condition.

Since, in addition to mounting the film or slides into one of the provided film guides and removing a cover from the underside of the scanner's lid, one must select film scanning from the ScanGear menu, I presumed that this action triggered an internal adjustment in the focus plane.

I didn't purchase the 8800F for the purpose of scanning any quantity of film, but for the couple of times I've wanted to use it, I've been very satisfied with the results.
 

dadohead

EOS M50
Dec 3, 2011
34
3
Last year I scanned over a 1,100 slides and negatives on a Nikon 9000. Took about a month nearly full-time. Before I did it, I had a shootout between the Nikon and an Epson v700. The Nikon won hands down. Not even close. I could boot my Mac into a virtual machine that would run the execrable NikonScan software and had a shootout between that and VueScan. VueScan won. (And NikonScan remains a primary reason why I won't consider a Nikon camera to this day.) There is a long, long learning curve to VueScan, and even once you know it, it will surprise you, and not in a good way. But, once you get it dialed, you can get scans from it that rival drum scans. Your biggest problem is going to be that usb to firewire connection and that tube Mac, so good luck with that.

My only tips? Get cotton gloves, a can of air, a nice brush, a rocket blower, and some Edwal cleaner, if you can still find it. (Amazing stuff; it was taken off the shelves in California.) Profile the scanner if you can and lock in the color settings in VueScan and use the profile to color-correct the scans in Photoshop post scan, otherwise you spend a lot of time tweaking each scan in a UI that isn't really suited for it. Scan at the highest machine resolution (which I think is 4000 dpi for that scanner) and 16 bit. You're making archival scans. Trust me, you don't want to do this twice. Set up VueScan to focus on preview and on final scan. Try some multi-sampling and multi-pass; after you've grown old waiting, you'll probably decide that one pass is good enough. Have two stations so you can prep the next slide while the machine is scanning. You can also work on and assess scans while waiting for the next scan. I don't know about the 4000, but the 9000 was slow boating, especially on 120. I created my folder structure for the archive on my desktop while I was working on the project and eventually just ingested the whole folder structure into LR. VueScan has a pretty good auto naming facility, but it isn't the most intuitive in the world. Actually you'll wind up saying that a lot. VueScan--great program, wretched UI. I skipped ICE and GEM. ICE will slow the process and soften the scan a little, and I'm so fast in Photoshop that I can do a better job in about the time a scan takes. Also, ICE doesn't work on a regular B&W and that was the bulk of my task.

When done, sell the scanner for more than you paid for it. Unless you're a film freak...
 

KBStudio

EOS T7i
Oct 24, 2013
64
0
www.kimbrunstudio.com
For small quantities I have found the best results were a calibrated lightbox, Sony A7rII and a Canon 100mm f2.8L IS lens. I have created a black mask slide holder and use the camera tethered to a MacBook Pro. The results are impressive. Even better than the same slides scanned on a Flexscan. Though this is far from a production set up, it has met my needs.
 

KeithBreazeal

EOS 6D MK II
Jan 16, 2014
1,264
57
www.kbvp.com
WOW! Really great info and experience here!
I have slides and negatives in 35, 2 1/4, and 4x5 that need to get done.
I am now seriously thinking that the best route is with a light source
and the 5DS. I'll have to buy the correct lens to do this with, so I'm open
to suggestions.
I'll built a custom jig for the slide, camera, and light source mounting. I'll probably
invest in a good LED panel. I'm thinking that a commercially available slide/negative carrier
would be a wise choice for keeping them flat. The 4x5's will be the trickiest.
Shooting tethered will make the experience a bit more bearable.
If you have any suggestions for the light source and lenses, I'm all ears.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,595
165
KeithBreazeal said:
If you have any suggestions for the light source and lenses, I'm all ears.
Usually a macro lens is best suited for this task, because they are designed for a "flat field focus", which is important when photographing flat objects at close distance.
 

AUGS

EOS 80D
Feb 13, 2012
103
11
Sydney, Australia
KeithBreazeal said:
WOW! Really great info and experience here!
I have slides and negatives in 35, 2 1/4, and 4x5 that need to get done.
I am now seriously thinking that the best route is with a light source
and the 5DS. I'll have to buy the correct lens to do this with, so I'm open
to suggestions.
I'll built a custom jig for the slide, camera, and light source mounting. I'll probably
invest in a good LED panel. I'm thinking that a commercially available slide/negative carrier
would be a wise choice for keeping them flat. The 4x5's will be the trickiest.
Shooting tethered will make the experience a bit more bearable.
If you have any suggestions for the light source and lenses, I'm all ears.
A few weeks ago, I was offered access to a 617 medium format film camera when I go away doing landscapes. The only thing holding me back is the excessive cost of processing, contact prints and scanning those transparencies - 4 images per roll of 120 film gets expensive. Using the 5D3 resolution at 100% would yield a 240Mpix image on the 617 image! Big enough for a 90"x30" print at 300dpi. A 5Ds/R would be an enormous file ( approx 600Mpix??).

I bought a cheap light panel used for tracing images this week, and will use my 5D3 and 100L macro for "scanning" some 35mm slides shortly. When I finalise my process and happy with the setup, I'll look at getting a better quality light-source to do the job properly. Then I'll start thinking about getting some serious landscapes done.

One thing you need to consider: if you intend to flatten the slide with a glass sheet (wet or dry), make sure it is anti-Newton glass to prevent the horrible interference rings.

I'll be keeping a keen eye on this thread. Thanks to the OP for kicking it off! Very timely for me.
 

kaihp

I'm not new here
Mar 19, 2012
854
6
JonAustin said:
Since, in addition to mounting the film or slides into one of the provided film guides and removing a cover from the underside of the scanner's lid, one must select film scanning from the ScanGear menu, I presumed that this action triggered an internal adjustment in the focus plane.
Jon,

I also expected that selecting film/slide scanning would trigger a repositioning of the focus plane, but my experience indicates that it doesn't. Selecting the film/slide scanning (and removing the cover) turns on the backlight for sure (I discovered this the hard way).

The scans looks kinda-okay if you don't have a reference scan (like I had). When I then compared it to the original scan (a 2-300kb jpeg) I was shocked how much crisper the original was.
 

RGF

How you relate to the issue, is the issue.
Jul 13, 2012
2,816
35
dadohead said:
Last year I scanned over a 1,100 slides and negatives on a Nikon 9000. Took about a month nearly full-time. Before I did it, I had a shootout between the Nikon and an Epson v700. The Nikon won hands down. Not even close. I could boot my Mac into a virtual machine that would run the execrable NikonScan software and had a shootout between that and VueScan. VueScan won. (And NikonScan remains a primary reason why I won't consider a Nikon camera to this day.) There is a long, long learning curve to VueScan, and even once you know it, it will surprise you, and not in a good way. But, once you get it dialed, you can get scans from it that rival drum scans. Your biggest problem is going to be that usb to firewire connection and that tube Mac, so good luck with that.

My only tips? Get cotton gloves, a can of air, a nice brush, a rocket blower, and some Edwal cleaner, if you can still find it. (Amazing stuff; it was taken off the shelves in California.) Profile the scanner if you can and lock in the color settings in VueScan and use the profile to color-correct the scans in Photoshop post scan, otherwise you spend a lot of time tweaking each scan in a UI that isn't really suited for it. Scan at the highest machine resolution (which I think is 4000 dpi for that scanner) and 16 bit. You're making archival scans. Trust me, you don't want to do this twice. Set up VueScan to focus on preview and on final scan. Try some multi-sampling and multi-pass; after you've grown old waiting, you'll probably decide that one pass is good enough. Have two stations so you can prep the next slide while the machine is scanning. You can also work on and assess scans while waiting for the next scan. I don't know about the 4000, but the 9000 was slow boating, especially on 120. I created my folder structure for the archive on my desktop while I was working on the project and eventually just ingested the whole folder structure into LR. VueScan has a pretty good auto naming facility, but it isn't the most intuitive in the world. Actually you'll wind up saying that a lot. VueScan--great program, wretched UI. I skipped ICE and GEM. ICE will slow the process and soften the scan a little, and I'm so fast in Photoshop that I can do a better job in about the time a scan takes. Also, ICE doesn't work on a regular B&W and that was the bulk of my task.

When done, sell the scanner for more than you paid for it. Unless you're a film freak...
Thanks for the advise. I'll try VueScan soon.

getting the hardware to talk may be my first challenge (Firewire to thunderbolt connection).

I had (may still have a calibration slide). I've been clean up for a while so not sure what I kept and what I tossed. I am a pack rat and then have cleaned binges.
 

dcm

Good or bad - it's not the gear.
Apr 18, 2013
752
84
LDS said:
dcm said:
I've scanned slides dating from 1950s to 1990s on an Epson v750 flatbed using VueScan
What are your impression of the V750 to scan slides?
I'm happy with the results. I'm not looking for archival quality and wanted to do it efficiently so I could scan all of the family slides, not just a handful. The conditions of the slides varied greatly since some had been handled many times and had fingerprints, dust, hair, etc. on them. I only used a blower to eliminate the loose stuff and relied on the infrared scan correction to provide some cleanup. I can always go back if anyone wants a higher quality version. No requests so far.

Here's one of my dad in his B36 pressure suit circa 1955 shot with his Argus C3 and bulb flash. Often the image quality is less important than the narration. In this case the rest of the story was the barracks. They had run out of money during construction so they only put drywall on one side of each wall throughout the building. Check out the C3 manual if you want to see how far cameras have progressed - http://www.cameramanuals.org/argus/argus_c-3.pdf.

BTW: I setup my 1DX+100L, light table, etc. to see how well that method would work. With pristine slides it might be okay, but that was not the case for me. It would have been a futile effort to try to clean that many slides up in Photoshop.
 

Attachments

P

Pookie

Guest
kaihp said:
I went to the forum thread that pwp linked to and saw the Canon 9000F flatbed scanner mentioned. I have one of those, and want to warn against it: just don't waste your time (and money) on it for scanning slides/negatives.

The fundamental problem with the 9000 (and likely others too; do your own research) is that the scanner is focused on the glass, but the negative/slide holder has a finite thickness which means that the negatives/slides are 0.5mm displaced from the scanners focus plane. The resulting IQ is pathetic and even when scanning at the highest resolution (3600dpi or so), the IQ is significantly worse than in the scans I had made (~1200dpi) when I developed the film originally in 2001.

Other flatbed scanners may or may not have this problem, but if I ever start scanning the old family photos, I'll be using my 5D3 and a macro lens for the capture process.
Nonsense... I have both the Epson V850 and Canon 9000II both work quite well. One cost 160$ the other almost 900$ One from each (both low res)... Which one is from the Epson and Canon? The only major differences I can tell you is that the 850 will scan large format, the 9000 only up to medium format and the 850 will wet scan with less mess than the 9000. Besides that not much but cost.

The biggest hurdle to scanning is knowing how to scan to get the best results...

Same camera... Mamiya RZ67 Pro II





Here is a Noritsu from Richard Photo Labs... a six figure scanner BTW

 

JonAustin

Telecom / IT consultant and semi-pro photographer
Dec 10, 2012
641
0
Horseshoe Bay, TX
kaihp said:
JonAustin said:
Since, in addition to mounting the film or slides into one of the provided film guides and removing a cover from the underside of the scanner's lid, one must select film scanning from the ScanGear menu, I presumed that this action triggered an internal adjustment in the focus plane.
Jon,

I also expected that selecting film/slide scanning would trigger a repositioning of the focus plane, but my experience indicates that it doesn't. Selecting the film/slide scanning (and removing the cover) turns on the backlight for sure (I discovered this the hard way).

The scans looks kinda-okay if you don't have a reference scan (like I had). When I then compared it to the original scan (a 2-300kb jpeg) I was shocked how much crisper the original was.
Interesting. The next time I need to scan film, I'll have to experiment with placing it directly on the scanner glass without using the film guide, and then compare the results to scans using the guide. It might require getting a piece of glass ≤ the thickness of the removable cover, to lay over the film to keep it flat against the scanner glass (and extra care to not scratch the scanner glass!). I'm not sure what the approach would have to be with slides, short of removing them from their cardboard or plastic mounts.
 
P

Pookie

Guest
JonAustin said:
kaihp said:
JonAustin said:
Since, in addition to mounting the film or slides into one of the provided film guides and removing a cover from the underside of the scanner's lid, one must select film scanning from the ScanGear menu, I presumed that this action triggered an internal adjustment in the focus plane.
Jon,

I also expected that selecting film/slide scanning would trigger a repositioning of the focus plane, but my experience indicates that it doesn't. Selecting the film/slide scanning (and removing the cover) turns on the backlight for sure (I discovered this the hard way).

The scans looks kinda-okay if you don't have a reference scan (like I had). When I then compared it to the original scan (a 2-300kb jpeg) I was shocked how much crisper the original was.
Interesting. The next time I need to scan film, I'll have to experiment with placing it directly on the scanner glass without using the film guide, and then compare the results to scans using the guide. It might require getting a piece of glass ≤ the thickness of the removable cover, to lay over the film to keep it flat against the scanner glass (and extra care to not scratch the scanner glass!). I'm not sure what the approach would have to be with slides, short of removing them from their cardboard or plastic mounts.
It's very likely you will get newtonian rings on your scans... this is why all scanner, once set up for backlighting negatives do not focus on the glass. They actually focus above it. All flatbed scanners avoid this at all costs as this artifact looks miserable and is impossible to correct.

If you are very concerned about this then you can either wet mount your slides using a wet mount kit for the Epson which can be configured for this applications or buy a slide/negative holder at an additional cost. I have found neither give much of an improvement over standard holders though.

Many of the problems associated with poor IQ have to do with the source material. Looking at a slide through a loupe looks great but a scanner sees deeper and will show lack of focus in the original. It will show grain at it's finest. It will show you lint you can't see, dirt you can't see. Fingerprints from poor negative handling... etc, etc, etc...

In addition to these variables you will add more to the problem by using canned software from the manufacture. If you use any of the sharpening or NR supplied your scan will often looked cooked. The best bet is to turn off all "enhancements", scan to TIFF and process in your standard workflow software used in digital photography. I have Vuescan and it's great but Canon's funky software turned off and exported to PS or whatever does the same or better.

Much of the scanner complaints come from people who expect a scanner to produce stunning scans from the start. It doesn't happen. It's kind of like complaining a f/1.2 lens is soft when shooting at 1.2... it's all about technique and if you don't put the time into learning how getting great images it's easier to blame the lens or the scanner. Look at Richard Photo Lab's or the Find Lab's website or better yet call them. Ask them why they have a scanner department and a "processing"department. Even a Frontier or Noritsu needs help. It's why developed/scanned film costs 20-30$ a roll. It's why they save profiles for professional photographers shooting film. Once a workflow and "look" is achieved they stick with it for that client.

If you have a 9000, it will work fine 99% of the time. Sure there are problems, sure sometimes if it's client critical you send you negs to a lab for drum scanning but for under 200$ it's a great scanner. The only reason I don't use it 100% of the time for homedev film is often I shoot large format too or bleached Polaroids so I had to get the 850.

Here is a link for a totally adjustable ANR glass neg holder... if you want to adjust focus heights and pay 80$ more it might be worth it. I've found that mine collects dust and I just use the OEM ones or even make my own.

http://www.betterscanning.com/scanning/canon8xxx.html